The Port is now receiving 100% renewable energy for its Bellingham operations as part of Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Green Direct program and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 86% annually. A slight electricity cost savings is anticipated for the Port as a result of its 18-year commitment to Green Direct.
“Environmental stewardship and strategic cost management are extremely important to the Port of Bellingham and the citizens of Whatcom County” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “The Green Direct Program provides a cost-effective solution for the Port to purchase 100 percent renewable energy and significantly reduce carbon emissions. This program is well aligned with the Port’s commitment to environmental and economic sustainability.”
Under the Green Direct program, Puget Sound Energy utilizes long-term service agreements from local governments and major commercial customers to incentivize the development of local wind and solar projects.
The Port’s renewable electricity charge consists of an initial fixed rate which increases two percent annually over the term. As standard electricity prices are forecast to increase by three percent each year, a slight cost savings is predicted for the Port.
The Port is one of 18 new customers joining the Green Direct program which now has a total of 41 customers receiving renewable power generated from local resources, including the Skookumchuck Wind Energy Project. Skookumchuck is the first large-scale wind project located in Western Washington producing up to 137 megawatts of wind energy – equivalent to powering 30,000 homes.
PSE’s next large-scale renewable energy project is the 150 MW Lund Hill solar plant in Klickitat County. With more than a half-million panels, it will be the state’s largest solar project when it begins operating later this year.
The Port joins Whatcom County, the City of Bellingham and Western Washington University as local public sector energy users enrolled in the Green Direct Program. Commercial customers include some of the most well-known brands in America including Costco, Target, Starbucks, REI and Microsoft.
Whatcom County has a strong track record in supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency. From 2007-09, Bellingham was the #1 EPA certified Green Power Community in America, and currently leads the region in residential solar systems per capita.
PSE residential customers can support renewable energy production by participating in the long-running Green Power Program.